A woman may only have about 60 hours during the cycle when conception is possible.
A woman may only have about 60 hours or less than 2.5 days during the cycle when conception is possible. Once the egg dies, a woman may no longer be fertile, and their period will come to start the next cycle. Eggs are only viable for about 24 hours after they’re released (ovulation). If combined with the 36 hours between a positive ovulation test and ovulation, the fertile period comes down to less than 60 hours. This is because the sperm can survive inside the cervix for up to 5 days; if fertile cervical mucus is present, having intercourse before the ovulation occurs can ensure the sperm is waiting for the egg to be released, giving the egg a higher chance to be fertilized.
Ovulation may sometimes vary depending on the menstrual cycle.
- If the average menstrual cycle of a woman is 28 days, then ovulation may occur around day 14, and the most fertile days are 12, 13, and 14.
- If the average menstrual cycle of a woman is 35 days, then ovulation may occur around day 21, and the most fertile days are 19, 20, and 21.
- If the average menstrual cycle of a woman is shorter or say 21 days, then ovulation may occur around day 7, and the most fertile days are 5, 6, and 7.
Which tests are usually considered to know the ovulation days for pregnancy?
A woman may rely on few accurate and common tests that include:
- Ovulation kits: These contain antibodies specific to luteinizing hormone (LH) that peak around 12-36 hours before ovulation. Testing the morning sample of urine with these kits helps determine whether ovulation has occurred. These home testing kits give accurate results in about 90% of cases.
- Fertility monitors: It is an all-inclusive device that monitors monthly cycles, hormone levels, body temperature, and electrolyte levels. This may help chart out the ovulating days every month.
- Blood tests: The most common blood test is detecting progesterone levels. It is typically done in the third week of the cycle around days 21-23. Progesterone is released in pulses after ovulation, so even numbers that seem low might be perfectly normal. LH can also be detected at high levels in the blood for 48 hours around ovulation. This test is not commonly performed because it requires frequent trips to the laboratory for blood testing.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: The egg develops within a part of the ovary called the follicle (a fluid-filled sac). As the egg gets ready to ovulate, the follicle grows larger. Follicle growth can be measured with an ultrasound, a technique that uses sound waves to produce an image on a monitor screen using a tampon-like probe placed in the vagina. Before ovulation, the follicle is thin-walled and filled with fluid. Ovulation generally occurs when the follicle measures between 1.8 and 2.5 cm. For a woman having fertility treatment, an ultrasound may help time intercourse or insemination (introduction of the semen into the uterus). In a woman taking fertility drugs, an ultrasound may be done on several different days during the menstrual cycle to measure and monitor each follicle.
How can I tell when I'm ovulating
Ovulating days or the most fertile days in a woman start around 14 days before their next period starts. Below are few common symptoms when a woman may be ovulating:
- Increased sex drive: Feeling more sexy or sociable than normal may be a sign of ovulation. Especially during the mid of the cycle, the body may be giving few signs that it is ready for sexual intercourse as the egg is released.
- Changes in the breasts: Few women feel that their breasts are a little sore about mid-way through the cycle, which may be a sign of ovulation.
- Increase in the basal body temperature: Due to a surge in progesterone hormone, a woman’s basal body temperature (body temperature while you are resting) may be increased by about 0.5° during ovulation. A woman can measure their basal body temperature by putting a thermometer at the bedside and taking the temperature first thing in the morning. Keeping a track of basal temperature can chart out the most fertile days in the month.
- Stomach pain: Few women may feel something in their belly around ovulation. These sensations may vary widely and could be anything from mild aches to twinges of pain. Some women have a condition called Mittelschmerz, where they feel ovulation as one-sided backache or a tender area. The feeling may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
- Change in the vaginal discharge: A woman usually notices changes in the cervical mucus (vaginal discharge), especially during ovulating days. The changes are caused by rising levels of estrogen in the body that need to release an egg. A woman may be the most fertile when the cervical mucus has the consistency of a raw egg white, which may be clear and slippery. This is helpful for the sperm moving through the uterus because it helps speed them up and nourishes and protects them as they travel toward the fallopian tubes to meet the egg.
- Mild spotting: Around 3% of women experience spotting during ovulation. Rapid hormonal changes can potentially cause spotting usually pink or pale red during ovulating. However, it is not very common.